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(Representational Picture)Students discuss question paper after coming out of examination hall in Panaji, on March 2, 2015. CBSE board exams commenced today. (Photo: IANS)

NEET Row: Embarrassed CBSE Asks Kannur School to Apologize to Girl Student

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has woken up to the gross human rights violations by a Kannur exam centre that had asked a girl student to remove her innerwear and directed the school principal to tender an apology to the candidate. The said school has, meanwhile, suspended four teachers for forcing the student to remove her innerwear.

The National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test (NEET) conducted on May 7, 2017 turned notorious for its stringent rules,  imposing a strict dress code that defied reason and violated basic human rights, amounted to child abuse under UNICEF guidelines for child dignity and clearly breached protocol of frisking students, most of them minors.

CBSE defended the move as an attempt to avoid repetition of a cheating scandal that took place in India pre-medical and dental test (AIPMT) of 2015 and said it merely followed the Supreme Court’s directive. Further, CBSE on Tuesday cited the overzealous women staff of the exam center and expressed regret for the inconvenience faced by the candidate.

“The board would further sensitize the frisking staff to obviate such incidences in future,” the CBSE said in a statement. “CBSE would take all necessary measures to ensure that students appear for examination in relaxed mood without compromising the sanctity of the examination at the same time,” it said.

While CBSE was right in implementing the strict code of dress and misuse of bluetooth devices, the overzealous teachers went a step ahead that amounted to harassment of many female students about their ear-rings or other ornaments while boys had to cut their full sleeve shirts to half in a hurry.

The fact that the students spend two years in preparation for the exam was self-defeating at the sudden turn of events before the exam and many teenagers were never exposed to such regimental atmosphere in a country like India. Many of them may not have even gone through frisking that one goes through at malls or airports. In any other country, it would have raised hue and cry for such indecent treatment against the hapless minors.

Instead, the Board should sensitize students, teachers and parents about the new ‘draconian’ dress code via SMS messages and even TV ads instead of exposing India’s future generation to the authoritarian regime that may make them insensitive to human values later. More so, if they become doctors who require utmost patience and humanitarian outlook. CBSE should not confine its teachings to textbooks but sensitize its own teachers on respecting child rights.

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